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[278a] but that the best of them really serve only to remind us of what we know; and who thinks that only in words about justice and beauty and goodness spoken by teachers for the sake of instruction and really written in a soul is clearness and perfection and serious value, that such words should be considered the speaker's own legitimate offspring, first the word within himself, if it be found there, and secondly [278b] its descendants or brothers which may have sprung up in worthy manner in the souls of others, and who pays no attention to the other words,—that man, Phaedrus, is likely to be such as you and I might pray that we ourselves may become.

Phaedrus
By all means that is what I wish and pray for.

Socrates
We have amused ourselves with talk about words long enough. Go and tell Lysias that you and I came down to the fountain and sacred place of the nymphs, [278c] and heard words which they told us to repeat to Lysias and anyone else who composed speeches, and to Homer or any other who has composed poetry with or without musical accompaniment, and third to Solon and whoever has written political compositions which he calls laws: If he has composed his writings with knowledge of the truth, and is able to support them by discussion of that which he has written, and has the power to show by his own speech that the written words are of little worth, such a man ought not [278d] to derive his title from such writings, but from the serious pursuit which underlies them.

Phaedrus
What titles do you grant them then?

Socrates
I think, Phaedrus, that the epithet “wise” is too great and befits God alone; but the name “philosopher,” that is, “lover of wisdom,” or something of the sort would be more fitting and modest for such a man.

Phaedrus
And quite appropriate.

Socrates
On the other hand, he who has nothing more valuable than the things he has composed or written, turning his words up and down at his leisure, [278e] adding this phrase and taking that away, will you not properly address him as poet or writer of speeches or of laws?

Phaedrus
Certainly.

Socrates
Tell this then to your friend.

Phaedrus
But what will you do? For your friend ought not to be passed by.

Socrates
What friend?

Phaedrus
The fair Isocrates. What message will you give him? What shall we say that he is?

Socrates
Isocrates is young yet, Phaedrus;


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